A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
There are things about this book that should really bother me, but there is something that is utterly compelling about this book.
And I couldn’t keep it down.
Likewise, there was something about this ship. I shouldn’t have liked it. It is the antithesis of what I like in ships. But it’s a bonafide ick ship-a ship that even though it make my nose wrinkle I can’t help but be like I want them together.
I think the closest thing I can compare it to is like Rumbelle on Once Upon a Time or St. Clair and Anna in Anna and the French Kiss. It is so messed up in this book, because dude has killed so many women-never mind, that he may or may not have a quasi legit reason for doing so-and he’s planning on killing her. And said chick wants to kill him to avenge her best friend, even though she sort of acted like an idiot about it throughout the entire book by doing nothing but mooning over how he’s not so kissible. And I will remind you that, dude has homicidal tendencies.
Yet somehow, Ahdieh’s writing make me want to root for these two. There was something about the way that these two interacted that you were able to see beyond the monster that Khalid is. He’s still a monster though, even if he might have a semi valid excuse.
I think the strongest thing this book had going for it was the writing. The descriptions are just so luscious. Usually I sort of get annoyed when author’s go into details about what so and so is wearing or eating, but here I loved absorbing myself in the world.
I also liked that this was slow on the world building, we are given pieces of the world, but it’s not all given out to the reader on a plater. The magic aspects of the book are only hinted at which I liked because it allowed the reader to get a view of the non-magic world of this book.
In addition to the ship being an ick ship, there is also a love triangle in this book. Though it is a light love triangle at book, more or less a past relationship. It actually didn’t bother me as much as I thought. It actually added to the book showing that Shazi had other relationships before Khalid and adds dimension to the ick ship.
Though, the other guy is a bit of an idiot.
A brave idiot, but an idiot. Much like Gaston on Once Upon a Time.
Seriously, I keep comparing this ship to Rumbelle. There is something wrong with that
Ships aside, the two leads are done well enough. I sort of wanted more character development, but since it’s an intro to a series I’m giving it some slack. However, I do think character development would’ve given the ick ship less ickness. There were just some things like Shazi’s marrying Khalid without a plan to how to kill him to Khalid not even trying to get out of his awful situation that just had me baffled a bit.
If this book would’ve caught me on a bad day….
It should just be glad that it’s use of language and quick dialogue made up for it.
I am recommending this one. If you’re extremely picky it might grate on you, but as a debut it is lovely. I have lots of hope for it’s sequel.
Overall Rating: A B+ I thought about giving it an A- but as I reflect on it the writing itself hid a lot of problems.